The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
May 6, 2018 – Sixth Sunday of Easter- John 15:9-17
Quiz: It is insured for over $800,000,000. It is the best known and the most valuable painting in the world. Years ago, I stood in line for over three hours to walk by it as it was on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I could look at it for all of five seconds. It had been briefly loaned to us from its usual display in the Louvre Museum in Paris where it has been hanging for the last 220 years. Can you name this painting? Of course, you can. The Mona Lisa.
Here’s a second question. What is she, the Mona Lisa, thinking about? What was going on in her mind that so mystifies us? What state of mind was Leonardo da Vinci capturing in this incredible portrait? Many have guessed what it might be, but the debate continues. All agree, however, that she not thinking about what’s for dinner. It’s much deeper than that.
In today’ gospel we have something similar being shown to us. Through his words, we are allowed to see into the mind of Jesus. We are given a peak of what Jesus thought about not only when he said these words at the Last Supper, but also what is on his mind and in his heart every day. Even right now, as he exists, risen and living in our midst.
Basically, what we learn is this: Jesus feels God’s love for him and he, in turn, loves us. Each of us personally. How deeply he loves us will always be a challenge for our understanding. But, he asks us to try to take in this Great Mystery – at least as much as we can. So for a few moments, let us reflect on his love for each of us.
Being loved by another is something we all long for, whether we think about this or not. We want to be known, accepted, cherished, valued, recognized, appreciated, attended to and cared for by another. Living without being loved by anyone is deeply sad.
Jesus became one of us to show us God’s personal love for everyone. Some may fail to believe this, but still, we are all invited to accept this idea. Some have wondered whether it is too good to be true. They are certainly correct in saying that such a reality would be very good. And we would not be surprised to learn that the disciples of Jesus were a little shocked when Jesus said, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”
And we can add that the you in this sentence included you and me! God in Jesus loves you and also loves your odd family members, your quirky friends, noisy neighbors and even “the bad guys.” That’s what is in the heart of Jesus right now. Wow! And Alleluia!
©David M. Thomas, PhD